After over a week of protesting under-financing, Oklahoma teachers have ended their walkouts, reports CNN.
The demonstrations, organized by Oklahoma Education Association, resulted in $479 million of funds for the 2018-2019 school year. This is lower than the teachers’ original goal, but it’s “time to face reality,” as Alicia Priest, President of OEA, says.
“Despite tens of thousands of people filling the Capitol and spilling out onto the grounds of this Capitol for nine days, we have seen no significant legislative movement since last Friday,” she adds. She also says that the “fight is not over just because the school bell rings once more and our members walk back into schools. We have created a movement and there’s no stopping us now.”
Because many teachers believe that the walkouts did not fully resolve the issues in Oklahoma public schools- including outdated textbooks from when the Soviet Union was still intact, as well as decreased quality in school facilities- the teachers’ union is asking parents, administrators, teachers and others in the community to keep focusing on this issue as election season rolls around. In fact, multiple OEA members and supporters are running for different positions this year, and the association plans on supporting them.
The Oklahoma protests were initially inspired by similar walkouts in West Virginia, says the New York Times, where teachers eventually gained a $2,000 raise. Kentucky and Arizona have also joined in on a few smaller fronts in hopes to receive a greater amount of state funds for their schools.